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Chinese service adds 'Sent from my iPhone' for a fee

The latest Apple fake in China has nothing to do with storefronts or faux hardware. Consumers are paying to have "Sent from my iPhone" tagged onto instant messages.

Sent from my iPhone screenshot
This phrase is worth money. Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

I put a lot of thought into whether to leave the "Sent from my iPad" tag on my e-mails.

On one hand, I didn't feel the need to advertise my hardware. On the other, I thought it might excuse some of the inevitable ham-fisted typos I'd make with the onscreen keyboard.

I never considered there are people in the world who would pay for the privilege of having "Sent from my iPad" or "Sent from my iPhone" at the end of their messages.

According to the Financial Times, some Chinese consumers are paying around $1 per month to have the phrase "Sent from my iPhone" tagged onto their messages sent through the popular QQ instant messaging service.

The iPhone signature service requires that the consumers hand over their QQ usernames and passwords to merchants who then hack the accounts to add the iPhone tag.

The Financial Times quotes one merchant's ad as saying, "The iPhone is too expensive. If you don't want to spend that money, then fake it!"

The cost of iPhones in China puts them out of the reach of many people who would like to have the device, but can't afford it. The signature service is a way to get the cachet without spending the cash.

Over here in the United States, where you can't turn around without bumping into an iPhone user, it can be hard to comprehend why someone would pay for a phrase.

Still, this is pretty much the same as picking up a "Louis Vuitton" purse for $10 in a New York alley. It's prestige without the price.